Letter from Ms. Mallette
Lee’s Summit R-7 elementary schools to provide restricted access to YouTube for instructional purposes
I wanted to let you know about a change in our elementary schools’ procedures related to access to YouTube, a sharing service that allows users to watch videos posted by other users. During spring 2015, our district eliminated all access to YouTube within elementary schools when Google discontinued YouTube EDU. Since then, we have heard from numerous teachers in our school and elementary schools throughout Lee’s Summit R-7 that the unintended consequences of this decision has been a negative impact on student instruction. YouTube is owned by Google and is a video hosting platform. It has become a major source of a number of high-quality educational sites for both school and home use. Many YouTube videos had been embedded into our district’s curriculum as recommended resources. When YouTube was eliminated from our elementary classrooms, these important teaching tools were also removed from our teachers’ instructional toolbox.
Based on this significant feedback from our teachers, all Lee’s Summit R-7 elementary schools are allowing restricted YouTube access for elementary staff and students, Thursday, Sept. 10. We wanted to take this opportunity to communicate this change, its rationale and our ongoing emphasis on safety.
By allowing restricted access to YouTube, our teachers and students will be able to use these important instructional tools that enhance learning and further engage children.
Without YouTube, students were also unable to use these resources for their school projects and assignments, another detriment to the learning process. These sites included Bookopolis (reading minute recording site), LearnZillion (math site) and Kahn Academy (instructional videos for teachers, parents and students) to name just a few.
As part of this newly reinstated restricted access, videos with mature content or that have been age-restricted will not appear in video searches, related videos, playlists, shows or films. While no filter is 100-percent accurate, YouTube utilizes community flagging and image detection to help identify and hide inappropriate content as well as objectionable comments.
In addition to operating under YouTube Restricted Mode, we have the additional protection of the district’s overall content filtering and safe search. This restricts Internet access both at school and away from school while using a district Chromebook or any device on the district network. Our district filter restricts inappropriate content and images as well as other search engines if they do not have a way for us to force a safe-search feature.
This filter also restricts images that are copyright protected so that students will only receive images that are not only restricted through our filter, they are also labeled for commercial, not-for-profit use.
As always, our teachers are emphasizing supervision of students’ Internet use and will continue comprehensive instruction on digital citizenship.
If an instance occurs where a child unintentionally accesses inappropriate content via YouTube students have been and are being instructed to adhere to the following steps:
Close the device.
Report to a teacher or other appropriate adult immediately.
Staff will report the site to the Technology Department so it can be investigated via our content filter provider.
If, however, a child intentionally seeks to access inappropriate content disciplinary measures consistent with Board policy and the Elementary Handbook will be applicable.
With this restricted access to YouTube as well as our ongoing content filtering and monitoring of students’ online activities, our school district continues to meet the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act as well as our Board of Education Policy EHB (Technology Usage).
For more information, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or our school office. We also have a school district webpage that provides general tips for families related to keeping their children safe online. Thank you for your support of our school.